What if you want to make more money than most, but don’t know anything about business?
Should you just get a job and save your income?
Is it possible to build serious wealth whilst working in somebody else’s company?
You will find the answers in this article to be informative, inspiring, and terrifying.
The finances of the average American are horrific…
Before we talk about how to get rich, it’s useful to understand just how troubled most people are financially.
Sh-t does not add up.
An average American home costs $374,900, a 16% increase from last year.
Food cost has gone up by 5%.
The price of gas has gone up almost 50%.
The cost of electricity is up 12%.
The cost of vehicles is up 12-16%.
Let’s say you are under 35. You are going to buy an average house and have 2 kids. Your wife is going to raise those kids, instead of working. You are going to take a few holidays per year, but you’ll keep working full time.
Let’s say you want the ability to pay for any medical emergencies should they happen, and you also want some room to breathe financially. So that if you got laid off, you wouldn’t be on the street.
I know that we all have mortgages, credit cards, and other things to help us mask our wealth problems. But let’s just imagine that you don’t want to be indebted to banks and governments. Let’s just imagine, owning the house that you live in and not owing anyone money, to be a reasonable aspiration.
You would be able to afford the lifestyle described above, with around $500,000 to your name.
That’s not plucked out of thin air, and that’s not asking for the world. That’s how much you would need to live very modestly, not in debt, and not 1 layoff away from financial ruin.
Now get this. The median net worth of an American under age 35, is $13,900.
Good people are trying to start families with less than 14 grand to their name.
Some of those same people will tell you that money can’t buy happiness. Or that wanting more money than most people is somehow greedy.
If you look at those numbers for more than 2 seconds, you can see that most people are in a dire position.
Most people are one redundancy away from an absolute f-cking meltdown.
My example was intentionally modest. Many of us want so much more than 2 kids and the ability to pay medical bills.
I say all of this to say- you are not wrong for wanting to be rich. And to give your family the life that you aspire to give them, I think you’ll actually need to be rich.
How much money do you need to be rich?
Hopefully, we’re now on the same page. Wanting to be rich is not some evil thing.
Before we can talk about strategy, we need to figure out how to define the word rich.
A good place to start is with the top 1%. Often, this group is labeled as “the wealthy elite” by the media.
In the US, a top 1% earner makes $823,000 per year. A top 1% net worth is $11,099,166.
Just because the media categorizes the top 1% as rich, doesn’t mean you should.
Ultimately, this is not about arbitrary statistics. This is about your life.
Maybe for the life that you would be proud to live, having $3 million to your name would be plenty.
You don’t need to keep painfully slaving away for years, just to earn money that you have no real need for.
On the other hand, the opposite could also be true.
Maybe you’re after a super extravagant lifestyle, and 11 million dollars won’t even buy half your house.
To help you to understand how much money you need to shoot for, I’ve done some calculations.
Here are the lifestyles that you’d be able to afford with a net worth of 3 million, 20 million, and a hundred million dollars.
We will make the following assumptions:
- 20% of net worth is typically spent on property.
- 10% of net worth is typically spent on depreciating assets.
- 70% of net worth is typically invested at an 8% return
- Of this 8%, 3% is reinvested/accounts for inflation.
- Of this 8%, 5% is used as annual livable income.
Level 1- $3 million net worth
$600,000 property. As long as you aren’t in some crazy city, you can afford a nice big house. 3 to 5 bedrooms, maybe a pool if you play your cards right.
$300,000 depreciating assets. You could afford a Lamborghini for this price, but you’d struggle to insure it. You might be better off with a few more modest cars. Maybe a fiat for your teenage daughter, A tesla for your wife, and a little something for yourself as well.
$100,000 per year income before taxes. With a top 20% household income and your house completely paid off, you can definitely take some nice vacations and not have to worry about making ends meet.
Level 2- $20 million net worth
$4,000,000 property. You’ve got some options at this level. Maybe a big family home in America, a small villa in Spain, and a lodge in the mountains in France. Or you could get an average 2-bedroom apartment in the middle of Manhattan!
$2,000,000 depreciating assets. You can definitely afford the fancy-ass cars. Even a boat, if you want, but nothing outrageous.
$700,000 per year income before taxes. You can’t buy a jet, but you can fly first class when you go on vacation. You can comfortably afford designer clothes and 5-star hotels, and you’re certainly not worried about paying the bills.
Level 3- $100 million net worth
$20,000,000 property. Live-like-a-king kinda money. You can get yourself a mansion, and a nice penthouse apartment in the city, and have plenty left over for a vacation home abroad.
$10,000,000 depreciating assets. Think 9 or 10 cars, a yacht, a helicopter- really whatever you want.
$3,500,000 per year income before taxes. You can fly nothing but private jets if you want. You don’t have to go on vacation at this level necessarily, you can kind of just live in a lot of places. You’ve got staff across your different properties, and you’ve got people who you can call when you need something. You officially make stupid money.
The dangers of wanting to be rich
A trap that rich people fall into is chasing money for the sake of having money. Needing to be richer than all of the rich people, just because.
This is a bottomless pit of sad desperate men.
Disney Heiress Abigail Disney has spoken publicly about this. She saw her father, nephew of the great Walt Disney, “become a small man” before her own eyes.
“You need a special entrance and a special exit. You need a private airplane and a private bar. You don’t want to inhabit anything but the stratosphere with people who are like you”
“So there’s a detachment from reality, and then comes the selfishness.”
Obviously, you’re not wrong to aspire to be rich.
People who think like that are always going to be broke and bitter.
Just ensure that what you are chasing, and why you are chasing it, are both carefully considered. Money can ruin your life just as easily as it can improve it.
What percentage of rich people own businesses?
Now that you’ve got a better idea of a specific ideal net worth, it’s time to talk business.
- 2 out of 3 unretired people with a net worth of over a million dollars are business owners.
- 9 out of 10 people with income over $10 million per year are business owners.
There are two main takeaways from the data shown above.
Firstly, most people who build significant wealth are business owners. Although they say that there are a million ways to make a million dollars, owning a business is by far the most common path to financial freedom.
Second, Business ownership becomes more and more essential as your ideal net worth increases. If you would be genuinely satisfied retiring with $1 million, a business seems less necessary for you than it would be for somebody with larger financial ambitions.
How can you get rich whilst working for somebody else?
If you don’t want to own your own business, but you still want to become financially free, there are a few things you should know.
It pays to ask for more money
Companies are profit-maximizing. If they can underpay you, they will. Research in the Wall Street Journal found that disagreeable men earn an average of 18% more than “nicer guys”. My interpretation of this data is that agreeable men are less likely to negotiate on their own behalf.
It pays to change jobs often
In 2014, Forbes found that workers who stay in the same company for longer than 2 years will make 50% less over a 10-year period. So if you want to get rich and you want to work for somebody else, know that it’s probably a bad idea to stay in one company for a long time.
It pays to choose a job with unlimited income potential
Sure, with most jobs you will be trading your time for money. There are a few jobs out there though, in sales for example, where you are paid a percentage of the revenue that you can generate for your employer.
These commission-based jobs are tough because you don’t get the security or consistency that comes with a traditional salary. But if you can really sell and you find the right opportunity, you could find yourself making far more money that traditionally compensated employees.
If owning a business is the best path to wealth, why doesn’t everyone do it?
When you read stats like the ones above, starting a business seems like an amazing idea. After all, most people with the big money got there through entrepreneurship.
You cant have a proper conversation about business though, without talking about how hard it is to make it.
Just as you could succeed, you could lose everything.
Many entrepreneurs, who eventually succeed in building wealth, spend the first years of their business career trying and failing. It takes a huge set of balls to take such a financial risk with your own money.
Zippia.com estimates that there are 734,842 active business owners in the US. The total labor force is 164 million. Less than half a percent of people own a business.
Why doesn’t everyone own a business? Because not everyone can.
It can be lucrative when you get it right, but it’s extremely difficult to get right.
Although starting a business is always going to be a difficult pursuit, there are certain businesses that are far less intrinsically risky.
Recently I wrote an article about 6 ways you can get rich without taking big risks. I covered 2 different types of business that you can start with very little money and zero employees. You can also start these businesses without quitting your 9-5 job.
You can check out the article here.